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Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw


JEWISH HISTORICAL INSTITUTE, WARSAW , institution devoted to the study of Polish Jewish history. The Central Jewish Commitee in Poland (ckz) came alive in summer 1944 simultaneously with the liberation of Poland by the Soviet and Polish armies. The ckz established a Jewish Historical Commission in August 1944 and, from December 28, a Central Jewish Historical Commission (cjhk) in Lublin headed by the historian Philip Friedman. The cjhk moved to Lodz (1945) and Warsaw and established branches in 25 places, including Cracow, Katowice, Wroclaw, Bialystok, Tarnow, and Lublin. Its main task was to preserve a record of the gruesome events of the Holocaust by research, documentation, collection of evidence, and publications.. The cjhk provided a framework for researchers, publishing methodical instructions for collecting materials and organizing proper archives, and libraries. They also established contacts with Jewish organizations abroad and with the Polish Academy of Sciences (pan = Polska Akademia Nauk). The cjhk issued its first bulletin, Yedies, in November 1949 (in Yiddish, quarterly publication, Biuletyn Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego (1950– ) in Polish (with summaries in English), and an annual in Yiddish, Bleter far Geshikhte (1948– ). These activities were financed mainly by a grant from the Polish Academy of Sciences (pan), and by the *American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. In 1968 the official antisemitic campaign in Poland induced almost all the workers of the Institute to emigrate, and the publication of the quarterly was impaired. Among the major works inspired by the Institute were collections of documents on the German occupation of Poland, including various reports from the ghettos and concerning underground activities in the ghettos and camps (1946); i Geshikhte fun Yidn in Poyln ("History of the Jews in Poland," 1951), by Bernard (Berl) *Mark, of which only one volume (until the 17th century) appeared in print (Yiddish); and Hitlerowska Polityka Zaglady Żydów ("Hitler's Policies of Extermination of the Jews," 1961) by A. Eisenbach. The number of other publications runs into several scores, dealing mainly with the Holocaust period.


35 lat dzialalnosci Zydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego w Polsce ludowej (1980); Żydowski Instytut Historyczny50 lat dzialalnosci (1996); S. Netzer, "The Holocaust of Polish Jewry in Jewish Historiography," in: Y. Gutman and al. (eds.), Historiography of the Holocaust Period (1988), 133–40.

[Shlomo Netzer (2nd ed.)]

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